Existentialism is a philosophical movement that emphasizes individual freedom and choice. According to Jean-Paul Sartre, one of the most prominent existentialist philosophers of the 20th century, existentialism is the belief that individuals create their own meaning in life through their choices and actions.
Sartre’s definition of existentialism begins with the idea that existence precedes essence. This means that humans do not have a predetermined nature or purpose, but rather must create meaning for themselves through their experiences and choices. In other words, individuals are not born with a set destiny or essence, but rather are free to shape their own lives.
One of the key components of Sartre’s definition of existentialism is the concept of radical freedom. According to Sartre, individuals are completely responsible for their own actions and decisions. This means that there is no predetermined fate or external force guiding our choices, and we must take full responsibility for our lives.
Sartre also emphasizes the importance of authenticity in existentialism. Authenticity refers to being true to oneself and living in accordance with one’s own values and beliefs. In order to live an authentic life, according to Sartre, we must first acknowledge our own freedom and take responsibility for our actions.
Another important aspect of Sartre’s definition of existentialism is the concept of anguish or dread. Anguish arises from our awareness of our own mortality and the realization that we have limited time on earth. This awareness can be overwhelming and lead to feelings of anxiety or despair.
However, Sartre argues that this awareness can also be liberating. By accepting our mortality and embracing our freedom, we can create meaning in our lives through our choices and actions.
In conclusion, Sartre’s definition of existentialism emphasizes individual freedom and choice as well as personal responsibility for one’s own life. By acknowledging our own mortality and embracing our freedom, we can create meaning in our lives and live authentically.